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Bel Air News

Ponzi Scheme Head Plea Bargains
Posted by Charlie Golestani on Jun 13, 2012 - 9:45:15 AM

BEL AIR—On June 7, a former investment fund manager registered a guilty plea to federal charges of fraud.

John Farahi, 54, admitted that he issued false promises to investors to earn their trust, saying he would purchase corporate bonds backed by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Instead, he severely mismanaged the funds.

The scheme began in November 2005, Farahi confessed, with future funds being used to payoff prior investors and “subsidizing options futures trading,” and expanding in 2008, with lying to FDIC-insured banks to draw new lines of credit when funding was scarce. He would lie to banks such as Bank of America and U.S. Bank. New Point Financial Services Inc., Farahi’s investment firm in Beverly Hills, was also held culpable in the apparent Ponzi scheme and the company’s assets were frozen.

The Bel Air Estates resident pleaded guilty to four felony count: mail and loan fraud, sale of unregistered securities and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

Farahi told the U.S. District Court that the sum of losses from the scheme was more than $7 million; however, prosecutors argued that the amount was in excess of $20 million.

Farahi further admitted that when wind of the SEC investigation came, he and his attorney David Tamman altered documents turned over to the SEC to support their fallacious activities on three separate occasions.

“Mr. Farahi used a variety of schemes, including the use of false promises about corporate bonds backed by TARP, to victimize both private investors and federally insured banks,” said United States Attorney Andre Birotte, Jr.

Farahi and Tamman were indicted in December 2011.

Farahi faces up to 75 years in federal prison, but under his plea agreement, would face no more than 10 years in prison. A final sentencing hearing is set for next year on January 14.

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“Mr. Farahi took advantage of investors’ trust, as well as their money,” said Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Farahi’s admitted crimes resulted in millions of dollars in losses and should remind those seeking to invest to use extreme caution when turning over their money in an environment where fraud is all too common.”



 

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